Fiction is full of characters, some good, some bad, and some that, while outwardly they seem to be or are supposed to be good, are in actuality very, very bad. Like the following:
PROFESSOR CHARLES XAVIER
The benevolent and paraplegic leader and founder of the X-Men, a group of mutants sworn to protect those who hate and fear them. Also, he’s telepathic.
Has anyone else ever wondered why a super powerful telepath who can both read and control minds is confined to a wheelchair? I mean, brain, nerve endings, I don’t know. Anyways, anyone familiar with the comics (especially lately) knows that Xavier is sort of a jerk when it comes to using and abusing his powers. But let’s just focus on the movie version. In the first film Xavier convinces Logan – an amnesiac at this point – to remain at his mansion with the promise that he will help him regain his memory. This leads to Logan’s remaining with the team and eventually joining their ranks. At the end of the movie the Professor directs him to an abandoned military facility in the Canadian Rockies, which hopefully will lead him to the answers he’s looking for.
This begs the question, why didn’t Xavier just read Logan’s mind and tell him those answers and save him the trouble? If you recall, at this point Logan is basically homeless, his only means of transportation blown to oblivion earlier in the movie. How exactly did Xavier expect him to get all the way up there? Walking? Or stealing someone’s bike, perhaps?
To make matters worse, the Professor was already well aware of Logan’s sordid past, having encountered him not only in the 60’s, but again in the 70’s (as seen in X-Men: First Class and X-Men Origins: Wolverine). So the Professor purposefully withheld information, for reasons that were only briefly, offhandedly mentioned. So briefly, in fact, that I still don’t know what they are, and those movies have been out for a while now.
But the worse bit is by far the incident involving Jean Grey. Jean was one of Xavier’s first pupils, who was an extremely powerful telepath. So powerful, in fact, that she apparently became a danger to her fellow man and mutant. During their ‘therapy’ sessions, Jean’s powers manifested in the form of a separate entity, The Phoenix. The Professor dealt with this by inserting mental blocks in Jean’s mind to prevent this persona from manifesting again, and made Jean forget about the whole thing.
This, of course, doesn’t work for long, and throughout the entire second film Jean has to deal with her powers going haywire while the Phoenix persona attempts to break free. And what does the good Professor do while his beloved student suffers? Not much other than nothing. Naturally, in the third film The Phoenix does get loose, resulting in the deaths of not only the Professor, but also Jean, and Cyclops (Jean’s sometime boyfriend).
Oh, and after this whole thing blows over it is revealed in a post credits scene that Xavier survived his death by transferring his consciousness into the body of a brain dead man. That, friends, is a jerk move if I ever heard of one.
Who among us have seen Star Wars? The original trilogy, I mean. All of us? Awesome, moving on.
George Lucas does a very fine job of differentiating the heroes from the villains. At least, he does until you really think about it. Then you begin to realize that just about everyone in the entire saga is a villain. Like literally, everyone. Which, y’know, sucks for the few heroes we’re left with.
Take Luke Skywalker for example. If you don’t know who Luke Skywa—don’t play that game, you know exactly who he is. Anywho, what say we focus in for a bit on some of his so-called allies.
First of all, we have R2-D2, the lovable and very shiny astromech droid. R2-D2 is a manipulative little tin can. Sure, he can’t speak English (or Basic, for all you purists). But that barrier never stopped Chewbacca from “Arrrgggggghhhhhh-ing” every twenty seconds. And you know something? Han Solo understood that. Just like C3PO understood R2. But little R2 acted like he didn’t know anything that could help our hapless hero on his quest. Like he didn’t have several key pieces of information that could have prevented loss of life (here’s looking at you, Alderaan). Which he totally did, by the way.
As anyone who’s seen the prequels can attest to, R2 was around for just about every pivotal moment in the galaxy’s history. Moments like the beginning of the Clone Wars, Anakin and Padme’s wedding, and Anakin’s turn to the dark side. Plenty of these facts could have proved useful to Luke as he went to confront his father. Heck, he probably could’ve kept his arm.
But wait, some of you may ask. Didn’t the droids have their memories wiped at the end of Revenge of the Sith? No, not both of them. Because Bail Organa only ordered that the protocol droid’s mind be wiped. So while this means that yes, it does suck to be C3PO, it al least explains his total and utter cluelessness throughout the remainder of the series.
So yeah, come to think of it, R2 kinda sucks. But that’s nothing compared to Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Obi-wan Kenobi cannot tell the truth. Like, at all. From the very first time he steps onscreen, he lies through his teeth. The most obvious example being his withholding the fact that Darth Vader is in fact Luke’s father (spoiler alert!).
Unfortunately Obi-wan wasn’t the only liar. Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru lied to Luke for the first eighteen years of his life. Yoda was such a hardcore liar that he was literally on his deathbed before he admitted the truth to Luke. But out of all of them, Obi-wan was by far the worse offender, for the simple fact that he continued to lie to Luke’s very face even after he died. And when Luke finally called him on it, his response was to prattle off some mumbo-jumbo about the truth being a matter of point of view and all that. A sentiment which, by the way, was shared by a certain someone.
Darth Vader. That certain someone was Darth Vader, who, you may recall, is supposed to be the main antagonist of the piece.
The amazing chocolateer! His candies are magic. From everlasting gobstoppers to fizzy lifting drinks to a chocolate freaking river, the man knows his confectionary treats. If you’ve seen either of the movies or read the book, you know that Wonka is an eccentric recluse who invites five youths to his candy factory in order to recruit a worthy successor. Hilarity and life lessons ensue.
Firstly there’s Wonka’s workforce, which is composed of little orange men known as Oompa Loompas. These Oompas work for chocolate. This is illegal. They were smuggled into the factory under the greatest of secrecy, as Wonka himself said, which means that he is harboring a completely illegal workforce and paying them in candy. That’s like, seven different types of illegal right there.
But let’s overlook that and examine the human element.
It appears Willy Wonka hates children. So why invite them to his place of work? See the first sentence in this paragraph. Wonka dispatches the children one by one in increasingly bizarre and cruel ways in order to teach each of them a valuable life lesson. Sounds a lot like another film . . .
Saw. I’m talking about Saw.
Anywho, were these unfortunate occurrences accidental? Ha ha, no. Because after each incident, the Oompas would assemble and present a song and dance number. The dance numbers were choreographed (and catchy). Wonka and his slaves planned this. They planned to have a boy who can’t swim be nearly drowned in thick chocolate, a girl and her father to be incinerated, and another to be shrank with radioactive technology. But why? It’s off-handedly explained that they all survived, and that they all were taught a valuable lesson. But that begs the question: does traumatizing children ever improve their behavior?
Further, it’s not like Wonka’s motives for inviting said children were altruistic. Basically, the entire tour was an elaborate interview process. And he was interviewing the children, not their parents. Which makes sense, considering Wonka’s flaming disregard for the law.
So far, Wonka could be just a little misguided. Doesn’t make him a villain, does it? Well, let’s examine possible motives.
He obviously doesn’t care about the money, what with making things like an Everlasting Gobstopper that never goes away, which would be like car companies making cars that never broke down. After about seven billion of those, he’s done.
Remember the song Wonka sang upon letting his miniature herd descend upon his candy room? Let’s examine some of the lyrics.
Anything you want to, do it
Want to change the world, there’s nothing to it
Anarchy, yes? Of course. These little chocolate wonders are the harbingers of doom.
These are but a few of the examples I’ve had the misfortune of uncovering. There are many, many more out there. It’s a conspiracy, friends. Not really. But it seems like it. So the next time you watch a movie, or read a book, or even see a play, you might want to be careful who you root for, lest you end up pushing for the villain of the piece.